Creating a Courageous Legacy

Melanie Ferguson

This week, I want to tackle the word courage. So a lot of you might be under the impression that the word courage is a noun. In fact, in the dictionary, it is described as the ability to do something that frightens us or strength in the face of pain or grief.

I want to challenge us to say that courage is actually an adverb. It’s not something that you’re born with. It’s not something that just comes naturally to some and is not attainable for others.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Definition of Courage
  • My Story of Courage
  • How to Burn the Boats in your Life
  • How to create a Courage Legacy
  • Importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded professionals

Links and resources mentioned during this episode:

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Complete Transcript of this Episode

This week, I want to tackle the word courage. So a lot of you might be under the impression that the word courage is a noun. In fact, in the dictionary, it is described as the ability to do something that frightens us or strength in the face of pain or grief.

I want to challenge us to say that courage is actually an adverb. It’s not something that you’re born with. It’s not something that just comes naturally to some and is not attainable for others.

Creating a Courageous Legacy

There are three things that I think courage is:

  1. I think courage is taking action over and over.
  2. I think courage is a decision made despite your fears.
  3. And I also think that courage is putting yourself out there, linking arms with others that want the same results.

It’s making a choice. Even if it’s an unpopular choice, even if it’s an unpopular choice internally, it’s a willingness. I want to tell you a quick story about how courage played has played a huge role in my life and any successes that I have found. One time well, let me back up and just say you may or may not know this about me, but I have a super huge fear of heights. I have fear of snakes. I have a few fears. Not a whole lot, but fear of snakes, fear of heights. But the fear of heights is pretty strong. It’s terrifying for me, right?

And so one day I was coming home from a conference. I love attending conferences. It was in the town about 45 minutes from my house. But not one that I went to all the time, nor one that I would usually drive to by myself. So I was coming home, following Siri just as obediently as possible, not really paying attention to exactly the route she was taking me because I’m not that super familiar with these highways that I ended up finding myself. It was in the evening, and it was a little bit dark, so I wasn’t even sure where I was approaching. I was just driving and following the instructions. And I found myself at the very top of the absolute highest bridge in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. The highest bridge in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex.

I cannot tell you, as I was already midway on the bridge, the amount of terror that struck me, 1s literally, I was shaking, and sweating. I thought I was going to throw up. My hands were sweaty. I thought this was it. I am going to die. I am going to die. There was no backing out, no going backward. I was on this bridge. I had no choice but to go forward. So what did I do? What did I do?

Oh, my gosh. So what I realized that I did was this was all just kind of reactive. I slowed down. I look like a crazy person going about 40 miles an hour on a bridge. But the key is I didn’t stop moving. I only slowed down. And I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but the only reason I didn’t stop right there on the bridge was because one of my fears is stopping on a bridge and sliding all the way off. That is a true story.

Like, I always think if you stop on the bridge, you are going to fall off the side. So stopping was not an option. Moving forward was the only option. But I certainly was going to slow down. I looked straight ahead. Now, when you’re on a bridge, sometimes you can look to your left or you can look to your right. And either way was always worse for me than just looking straight ahead. So I looked straight ahead and straight down. I didn’t want to get distracted by anything that reminded me of what I was doing and that I was attempting to go over the tallest bridge in the metroplex by myself at night, under Siri’s command.

I looked down and could see the two reflective lines on either side of the road. And I thought, if I just keep my vehicle moving forward slowly between these two lines, nothing can go wrong. Like, it’s been proven, like, lots of science has gone into these two lines. Nobody has fallen off the bridge that stayed in these two lines. So I literally look down straight ahead in between the two lines, held both hands on the steering wheel. We’re talking at ten and two. I was going back to the basics. What did I learn in driver’s ed? Well, you hold your steering wheel at ten and two. That way if you hit anything in the road or you bump or something hits you, you can still stabilize yourself and keep control. So I knew that having both hands on the wheel basic would keep me in control. It was everything I’d ever been taught.

I was taking deep breaths. And the funny thing is I found myself praying out loud in song. I literally was just completely singing Bible verse songs from my days at church camp. I was singing Jesus Loves Me. This I know for the Bible tells me so it was literally all I could do to not throw up. This may be different for you completely. I don’t know, what do you do in the face of terror? What calms you down?

I thought I was going to die right then and there on that bridge. My poor family was going to get the news the next day.

Well, all that to say, I made it to the other side of the bridge. I could stop holding my breath practically, and breathe. I could breathe. I felt the stress, the tension fall from my body. I was completely safe back down on the main highway on my way home. Home free.

I think this shows up in our lives in a lot of different ways. I would definitely say that that was a form of courage. You might even say I faced my fears. But honestly, I don’t think it’s the same thing when you don’t really have a choice. Once I entered that bridge, I didn’t have a choice of turning around. I didn’t have a choice of going backward. All I could do was go forward and hope for the best. I was either going to die or I was going to live. And so this is sometimes what we have to do in our businesses.

Sometimes you need to take the mindset that there’s just no turning back. You started this thing, you’re going to see it through to the end. It’s going to take some courage. And this is not something that you’re born with.

  1. This is something that you do by taking action over and over.
  2. It’s a decision you’re going to make despite your fears.
  3. And you may need to put yourself out there and link up with others who are doing the exact same thing.

Burn the Ships for King and Country

In business, I learned a long time ago, that there’s this story called “burning the boats”, or “burning the ships”. So Alexander the Great many, many centuries ago, took his men into war. And when he landed on the shore of where the battles were going to take place, he turned around and looked at his men and he said, “Burn the boats! Burn the boats!”

They looked at him like he was crazy. That was their only way out. Should things have gone wrong. That was their only means of escape. If they burn their boats, that would the difference between living and dying.

So some of us need to take stock and what it is that we want. What are our goals? Do we need to “burn the boats”? Do we need to get rid of Plan B and make it a plan? Do we need to get rid of all of those safety nets? Sometimes you need to stop and think about how you can make a retreat when things get tough. When fear faces its ugly head at yours and makes it not an option. Not an option to quit. It takes courage.

Some of you need to burn the boats and find your courage. Because your family is counting on you. Your audience is counting on you. Your readers for your blog are counting on you. Your followers on all the social medias are counting on you. And deep, deep, deep, deep down, deeper than you may even know, there is a younger version of you crying out that they are counting on you. Don’t let them down. Find your courage today. Take action. Make a decision. Join others.

Creatives on Fire Insiders

I am so excited, you guys. This week I had a three-day content planning challenge over in my free group for this podcast called Blogging Creatives on Fire, where we talked about all the ways that we can link arms and get our weeks and days planned together. We opened and closed cart. But if you are interested in linking arms with another group of people who are moving in the same direction as you because maybe you need that kind of courage in your life, I’m going to encourage you to get on the waitlist.

I have a wait list started for those who did not make it to the challenge and still want to reap the benefits of taking action with a group of people who have made the same decision in their businesses to burn the boats, burn their plans, burn their retreat options and only move forward. I’ll put the link in the show notes and in the video below if you are watching this on YouTube.

In the meantime, take a look at your life. See all the ways that you are already showing courage. You are already using it as an adverb and not a noun, where you are already succeeding with things in your life that make a difference. And give yourself a pat on the back, because honestly, any time you take courage and do something that is not comfortable, you deserve applause. Until next time, my friend. Stay inspired. 

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